The Black Belts of the Lebanese Armed Forces
Who knew that the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) have eight black belt Taekwondo athletes!
In Korean, a Taekwondo practitioner is called Taekwondoin, and these eight Taekwondoins recently asked UNIFIL’s Republic of Korea Battalion for some brush-ups on a few techniques.
Korean peacekeepers obliged by assigning two of their Taekwondo masters to spend a few weeks with LAF’s black belts.
The LAF officers were already seasoned Taekwondo athletes sporting some impressive acrobatic moves and techniques, but they needed some guidance with the showmanship aspect of the martial art.
The goal was to prepare for a sporting event commemorating the 79th Lebanese Independence Day on 22 November 2022.
The focus of the customized training sessions was the poomsae, which is a sequence of Taekwondo techniques linked together into a pattern of moves. To gain a black belt, a student generally must know all eight poomsae sequences and be able to perform them all consecutively without breaks in between. Although the LAF black belts had already mastered the poomsae sequences, they wanted to fine-tune them for the performance.
“I was able to fix my incorrect poomsae posture through the instructors’ simple description, and all members of the demonstration team were then able to do a complete motion,” said Sergeant Major Raad of the LAF team. “This opportunity helped me to appreciate the attractiveness of Taekwondo’s sharp motions once again, and I thank ROKBATT [the Republic of Korean Battalion] for their detailed training and support,” he added.
The Korean Taekwondo masters worked with the LAF team on the poomsae motions, followed by self-defense and breaking techniques. Breaking is often the highlight of the Taekwondo performances, involving practitioners striking a wooden board with their hands or kicking it with their feet.
The power and precision of the LAF Taekwondo team was impressive, as was witnessed by spectators at the Emile Lahoud Stadium in Beirut where the performance took place. They also looked great in the new Taekwondo attire and belts provided to them as a gift by Korean peacekeepers.